By AARON GETTINGER
In an “annual kickoff to summer,” the Chicago Parks Foundation is organizing It’s Your Park Day on June 16 in 50 parks citywide and locally in Jackson, Washington, Jessie “Ma” Houston and Kenwood parks and the Midway Plaisance.
The Jackson Park Advisory Council has invited volunteers from the community and Roosevelt University to clean up areas like Hayes Drive and the 63rd Street Beach at 2 p.m., with a history orientation scheduled at the Women’s Perennial Garden near 59th Street and Stony Island Avenue. It’s Your Park Day is coinciding with the Wooded Island Workday as well; volunteers should meet at the south bridge north of the parking lot at 63rd Street and Cornell Drive at 10 a.m.
Both the Washington Park Residents’ and Advisory councils are organizing It’s Your Park Day together, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Volunteers will be cleaning the area around the fieldhouse, 5531 S. King Dr., and will enjoy a hot dog cookout and community yard sale of new, slightly used, vintage and one-of-a-kind items; individuals can sell goods if they help set up. Additionally, the Washington Park Camera Club will be documenting the event at their last event before their summer break.
At the Houston Playground Park, 5001 S. Cottage Grove Ave., volunteers will pick up trash and spread mulch around trees and fibar around the playground from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. As at all parks, light refreshments will be provided. “It will be a great way to improve the neighborhood and get to know your neighbors,” said Houston PAC President Alex Breland.
At Kenwood Park, 1330 E. 50th St., the PAC has planned volunteer activities, including cleanup and mulch spreading, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. They encourage volunteers to bring frisbees and sports equipment for community bonding during the day, however, and participants will be able to watch a Hyde Park–Kenwood legends baseball game as well.
Volunteers will clean up the Midway Plaisance all morning starting at 9, meeting at the ice rink fieldhouse, 1130 Midway Plaisance North, followed by storytelling artists from 10 a.m. and pickup soccer at 11 a.m. To commemorate the 125th anniversary of the World Columbian Exhibition world’s fair, a free historical walking tour will begin at 11 a.m. Departing from the Midway and Stony Island Avenue, the tour will “start” in 1867 and continue through the present day, discussing Exhibition sites along the way.
Volunteers are encouraged to register in advance for planning purposes and will receive a free T-shirt for their service; registration is at www.chicagoparksfoundation.org/iypd. Families and people of all ages are encouraged to volunteer.